If you are reading this article, you’ve probably taken a break from one of the most thrilling Boston Bruins’ off seasons in recent memory. Just kidding, it’s been brutal. Not only did they lose one of their best forwards in Jarome Iginla, but they’ve also yet to sign their two biggest free agents in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
The sting of losing Iggy is more palpable given the fact that his contract is the primary reason the B’s are in the cap hell they are in. He left town after a President’s Trophy winning season to sign an outrageous contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He has already come out and said that he believes he can win a Cup with the Avs (spoiler alert: He won’t.)
They will miss his character, leadership, and goal scoring ability, but they had to know that it wasn’t going to work out long term given his ridiculous amount of bonuses.
Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins’ brass have also signed two of their own free agents in Matt Bartkowski (1 year, $1.25 million), and Jordan Caron (1 year, $600,000). These are two guys that a lot of fans did not want back for next season, but players that are signed are easier to move via trade.
It has been stated multiple times throughout the off season that the Bruins’ are carrying a ton of NHL ready defensemen and need to deal a few for some assets, cap space, or a right hand on the right wing. It was surprising to see the team re-up Bart and Caron, but I have to believe that they did so for the sake of moving them to another team.
Is Zdeno Chara’s Championship Window Closing?
The Bruins’ “win now window” is a hot topic in the hub, and I myself think it is a myth. It is propaganda shoved in our faces by the many “hot take” media guys that cover the B’s. It is everywhere you look, it is on the radio, it is on the TV, and it is utterly insufferable.
How does this move help them “win now”? What is Peter Chiarelli doing? Seriously, if I hear somebody ask either of those questions again I am going to climb to the rafters in the TD Garden between Orr and Clapper and take the plunge onto the spoked B.
The Bruins’ window is generally considered to be based on captain Zdeno Chara’s age, level of play, and inevitable decline. There are a number of reasons why this is both ridiculous and completely devoid of facts. For starters; Chara isn’t even the best player on this team anymore. He is their best defenseman for sure, but he isn’t the elite workhorse he once was. Having said that, Z at age 37 is still a better defenseman than about 90% of every other defenseman in the NHL right now.
“But Matt, he has gotten slow and it showed against Montreal last year, and Chicago the year before”. That is a fair point, but don’t you think it is a little irresponsible on the coach’s end to play a 37 year old play for 25+ minutes a night, even though he is a freak athlete? It is really easy to blame the player, but then again I would love to see anybody who calls him slow lace up skates and face the best players on the opposing team every night.
The Bruins plan for last season was to limit his minutes. Dennis Seidenberg tore his ACL and screwed that one up royally (not his fault obviously). So the team was forced to overuse their big man and he was unfortunately exposed. If Seides hadn’t gotten hurt, would that of happened? Who knows, and there isn’t any use in speculating. Hopefully it won’t come to that next season either.
You also can’t avoid the hypocrisy regarding Chara and the “window” too. Most people in Boston consider Big Z ineffective and slow right? If you were to type his name into twitter right now you would see a ton of “trade Chara” people. What I don’t understand is that if people feel as if Zdeno is too old and slow, than why is this “win now window” attitude based on him and the remaining years in his career?
Break Out The Bruins Offseason Mailbag!
Hello everyone, the 2014 NHL Entry Draft is this Friday and it’s time for the Bruins to start planning for the upcoming season. We took this opportunity to answer some of your questions about the upcoming season.
Craig Wagaman: would love a list of who our UFAs and RFAs are (or a link to one)… thanks….:
Sure thing Craig, one site I always use is Capgeek.com. It is perfect for getting an idea of the B’s current cap situation, potential free agents, and bonus repercussions. It also has a cool feature called “Armchair GM” where you can acquire, sign, and trade any player and look at how the cap would work.
Ralph Roche: why did they get rid of Shawn Thornton?
It was tough to see Thornton go, but he did have to go, and it was pretty clear last season with the B’s was his last. He is going to be 38 years old going into next season and he has slowed down noticeably. The Bruins as a team are looking to get faster too. He will always be appreciated for his tenacity and presence on and off the ice, but the Bruins have a wealth of young NHL forwards that are ready to contribute.
Michael J. Ardolino: Do you think Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell and Adam McQuaid are on the outs?
Difficult to say, the Bruins are pressed for cap at the time, but they have also come out and said that they will not be using any of their compliance buyouts. I would try and move Soup and Quaider because they would collectively open up $3.2 million in cap space. With this you could put Kelly down on the fourth line. You could also attempt to trade Kelly, but he is coming off of an injury, is a little overpaid, and has a no trade clause. The B’s are in a tough spot with the cap, and I am just as curious as you to see how they handle it.
The Boston Bruins have announced today that they will not re-signing enforcer Shawn Thornton. While the news isn’t necessarily shocking given the direction of the team; it is still tough to see a fan favorite move on. We as B’s fans had to do so last season when Andrew Ference was given notice that he would not be re-signed by the team.
Hockey is a business, and this is unfortunate part of that business.
Thornton was signed by the Bruins as a free agent in 2007. He was coming off of his first Stanley Cup Championship with the Anaheim Ducks. He has been a Bruin ever since, and one of the faces of the team’s renaissance from laughing stock to elite contender.
He is a surprisingly skilled fourth line pugilist as well as an exceptional leader. Unfortunately he is 36 years old (he will 37 in July) and there are plenty of players in Providence that can step in and possibly make more of an impact. It’s also tough to ask someone at his age to keep fighting on a nightly basis. This point is further built upon by the league trending away from fighting.
In truth; guys like Shawn Thornton, leadership and character notwithstanding, are becoming a thing of the past in the NHL.
I’m not really thrilled to be writing this article. It seems too early and it’s hard to believe this once promising Boston Bruins’ season is over. I am not going to break down the Habs series in tremendous detail, but I am going to take a look at some positives and some negatives from the playoffs, and some of the regular season.
Matt Bartkowski needs to go: I normally never single out just one player (there are some that will get their’s too), but Matt Bartkowski was absolutely brutal throughout the entire series against Montreal. There is no way this guy is a member of the B’s next season. Whether it be the bonehead plays, brutal penalties, and the awful positioning; it’s safe to say he won’t be back.
Brad Marchand probably needs to go too: Remember when everyone used to love Brad Marchand’s antics? Do you also remember that time Brad Marchand was an effective weapon in the playoffs? Good, because that was 3 years ago. I do like Marchand, but I think it has gotten to the point where his shtick is hurting the Bruins’ more than it is benefitting them. The refs are on to him and he is being called for penalties more than he is goading opposing players in to taking them. I am starting to think his time is up.
Players replacing players: I am a big fan of Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid, but I believe there are two players who have played them out of Boston. Carl Soderberg has completely emerged as a legitimate scoring threat on the third line. Moving him to center was a big time to move that helped him elevate his game to new heights. In the same regard; I believe Kevan Miller has totally played Adam McQuaid out of town. I don’t think Miler is a better player, but he makes nearly half of McQuaid’s annual salary. Soderberg also makes less than Kelly. If this team hope to re-sign all of its free agents with ease, they will need to free up some space.
Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug are the real deal: If you can take on positive out of the Bruins’ doomed Stanley Cup run this season; it should be the fact that Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug were arguably the best two players for the team. Krug led the team with 2 goals and 8 assists in all 12 of the team’s playoff games, and Hamilton played legitimate top pairing minutes while contributing offensively with 2 goals and 5 assists. A lot of people talk about the “window” with this team referring to when Zdeno Chara will retire, but I believe the window can be extended as Hamilton develops into a star in the NHL.
Before I get started; I would like to poke some fun at the obnoxious “Bruins’ fans” totally losing their minds. Pretty much every person on the planet (exaggerated, but hey I’m making a point here) picked this series to go seven games. So why did everyone freak out when they lost game six?
This series had 7 games written all over it, and yet B’s fans were acting like they lost game 7, while Habs’ fans were acting like they won game 7.
While some of you allow yourselves to despair, I’m actually looking forward to this game. The Boston Bruins are going to play the Montreal Canadiens at home to decide what has been an outstanding series. This is why we watch hockey. This team has played hard all year to earn home ice throughout the playoffs, and this is the time to truly use their advantage.
I can’t say I blame some of the pessimists; the Bruins have allowed the Canadiens to totally dictate the pace in a bunch of this series’ games. Whether or not you like the hated Habs (you’re reading a Boston sports blog, so I’m guessing you don’t), you have to give them credit for the way they have played. Their trade deadline acquisitions have paid serious dividends for them, and have further pushed the B’s shortcomings in that specific area, into the spotlight.